Posted 8/15/2008 10:48 PM (#9271) Subject: A little history of the Laughing Owl....
Location: No I'm not impersonating a cat! I'm a laughing Owl
The laughing Owl was endemic to New Zealand, but is probably now extinct. European settlers first arrived in New Zealand in 1840, when the laughing owl was plentiful. Specimens of the laughing owl were sent to the British Museum where reports on them were published in 1845.
By 1880, they were becoming rare, and the last specimen recorded was found dead at Blue Cliffs in Canterbury in 1914. There have been unconfirmed reports of laughing owls since then, but no specimens. In his book "The Wandering Naturalist", Brian Parkinson describes reports of a laughing owl in the Pakahi near Opotiki in the 1940s.
Laughing Owl egg fragments were apparently found in Canterbury in 1960.
Extinction was caused by persecution, land use changes and the introduction of predators such as cats and dogs.
Description: Plumage was yellowish-brown striped with dark brown. There were white straps on the scapulars, and occasionally the hind neck. Mantle feathers were edged with white. The wings and tail had light brown bars. The tarsus had yellowish to reddish-buff feathers.
Facial disc was white behind and below the eyes, fading to grey with brown stripes towards the centre. Eyes were dark orange.
Voice: Various descriptions exist for the song of the Laughing Owl:
"A loud cry made up of a series of dismal shrieks frequently repeated" - this sound gave the Laughing Owl its name.
"A peculiar barking noise... just like the barking of a young dog"
"Precisely the same as two men "cooeying" to each other from a distance"
"A melancholy hooting note"
Others describe the call as a high pitched chattering, only heard when the birds were on the wing and generally on dark and drizzly nights or immediately preceding rain.
Various whistling chuckling and mewing notes were observed from a captive bird.
Hunting & Food: From studying pellets, it has been determined that these owls ate beetles, lizards, small birds, rats and mice. Laughing Owls were apparently ground feeders, chasing prey on foot.
Breeding: Began in September or October. The nests were lined with dried grass and were on bare ground, in rocky ledges, fissures or under boulders. Two white, roundish eggs were laid, measuring 44-51 x 38-43 mm (1.7-2" x 1.5-1.7"). Incubation took 25 days, with the male feeding the female on the nest.
Habitat: Generally Rocky, low rainfall areas. Also in forest districts on the North Island.
Distribution: North Island: Specimens were collected from the forest districts of Mt Egmont (1856) and Wairarapa (1868). Sighted in Porirua and Te Karaka. According to Maori tradition, they also occurred in Urewera.
South Island: Low rainfall districts - Nelson, Canterbury and Otago. Also Central mountains and possibly Fiordland. Specimens were collected from Stewart Island in 1880.
Posted 8/15/2008 11:05 PM (#9274 - in reply to #9271) Subject: RE: A little history of the Laughing Owl....
Wow Rose...amazing creature....so horrible about it's extinction...especially because of the reasons stated....predators, well, that is the way of nature...but human interference just ticks me off! Thanks for sharing, Lovey...and for keeping it alive in your way.
By the way...you seem to be quite the owl lady! I am sure you have referred to it in other posts, and I have missed it- do you have a soul tug toward these amaZing animals???
Posted 8/15/2008 11:40 PM (#9280 - in reply to #9271) Subject: RE: A little history of the Laughing Owl....
Well now Rosey...an incidental acquaintence of mine, a chef named Graham Kerr, told us of laughing owls.....and I thought he said in Whakatane, North Island.....but I don't know how to spell Kiwi names.....he had a recipe for Chicken Whakatane...egads, I hope it WAS chicken!!!! I always thought he was an Ozzie!!
Piece and Luv, Marty and Maori Natives, Luck, Popp and Siss
Posted 8/16/2008 12:57 AM (#9283 - in reply to #9271) Subject: RE: A little history of the Laughing Owl....
You know Graham Kerr too!? The Galloping Gourmet! SO funny you mention him! I was thinking of him today when I was writing my homage to Julia post! Then he sort of went off the scope for a bit, and came back with a newer and healthier spin on his cooking!! And the crazy and lovable Jeff guy...who was he? Had a really cool and rustic kitchen for a set, liked cooking Spanish food alot, I think? Bald..sorta..and the hair that he did have was whitish? Oh man..I wanna say Jeff Smith..but that's probably my neighbor or an actor or something..I am pulling at straws here!
Ok, trying to get some reading done..wish I was tired but I just am not.
Posted 8/16/2008 1:53 AM (#9287 - in reply to #9271) Subject: RE: A little history of the Laughing Owl....
Indeedy! Met Galloping himself and Trina when recording specials for PBS in the States. My fav story is when he poured wine down Trina's decoulletage at the end of a particularly good show. Very sensual! Unfortunately, Jeff Smith's "Budget Gourmet" met with a sad and ironic end. Behind the scenes people would make fun of his use of....I think it was Cliff as a name.....assistant, and speculated as to whether there was an untoward relationship betwixt the two. Jeff was a Methodist(?) minister, and an accusation came out of impropriety with a young male member of the congregation. As I understand it, HE WAS COMPLETELY CLEARED OF ANY WRONG DOING BY ALL AUTHORITIES, INCLUDING HIS CHURCH. Yet, he ended the show and does not appear in public again.
Peace, Cats Lucky, Poppy and Sissy and Marty, the human bean
Posted 8/16/2008 3:27 AM (#9294 - in reply to #9271) Subject: RE: A little history of the Laughing Owl....
Ah so sad! There are so many little birdie friends who suffer at the hands of us big bad humans. I used to have a Rosie cockatoo (Rose Breasted Cockatoo). They are native to Australia. Farmers give them by setting off mines in fields when they are flocking. It's horrible.
And, no birds can be exported out of Australia the last I knew. S many beautiful endangered cockatoos and other lovelies that would be saved in breeding programs around the world, where in their home countries they are simply considered pests. I feel for you.
Posted 8/16/2008 3:33 AM (#9295 - in reply to #9271) Subject: RE: A little history of the Laughing Owl....
I have another little owlie story for you, dear Rose. I used to work for AMD semiconductor in Sunnyvale, CA. It has a very large campus. Every year ground owls would nest in a particular field. These little guys (so cute!) are endangered and it being California and very big on conservation, we were not allowed to cross the field until breeding season was over. They even hired extra security to guard the grassy sports field. (I guess they didn't mow the lawns either come to think of it... )
I am just glad that one technology company saw that it was just as important to preserve the environment while they producing microprocessors...THough I don't want to tell you about the toxic waste from the fabs. That had even higher security measures...(Full haz mat suits and showers were required to enter/leave the fabs...pretty freaky. But, that's another story...)
Cutie laughing owls and nesting ground owls. Hoot hoot!
Posted 8/16/2008 6:21 AM (#9297 - in reply to #9271) Subject: RE: A little history of the Laughing Owl....
My speciality is ROLM telephone systems, campus was Santa Clara, now Siemens, San Jose. One time, I had to go and fix one in a Nuke power plant in Pennsylvania. Full radiation suit....I couldn't figure out how to grab the screwdriver, so heavily protected was I. And this form of energy is safe? Hmmmmm??
Posted 8/16/2008 10:53 AM (#9305 - in reply to #9274) Subject: RE: A little history of the Laughing Owl....
Location: No I'm not impersonating a cat! I'm a laughing Owl
Oh Yes Instinctual! I will be joining this wonderful morning. And yes, I do have some sort of connection with Owls. Everytime I see them I just want to ruffle their feathers and give them all big hugs. Not sure they would take kindly to it but I just adore Owls and I love the colors of the Snowy Owls. This little guy, it's a shame that I will only get to see one in a museum.
Too bad we didn't save a few of them. It would have been quite a sight. You know those feathers around it's eyes are actually white! What a unique and beautiful creature. Maybe....one day one will come back to us, maybe there are a few hiding out where man has not gone...we can only hope.
Love and Peace to you Instinctual...will meet you on the cosmic plane riding out to London
Posted 8/16/2008 11:02 AM (#9308 - in reply to #9294) Subject: RE: A little history of the Laughing Owl....
Location: No I'm not impersonating a cat! I'm a laughing Owl
I bet they are pretty! Rosy breasted cockatoos. Now I don't remember the names of the birds that are kept in the aviary at the zoo but I went in wearing a straw hat....okay, maybe the smartest thing or not, but all the birds jumped on me! Including the head bird herself. And she nested herself on top of my hat where she was investigating what she believed to be her new nesting ground.
The handler looked and said, "she doesn't like anybody and she's really taken to you. She bites everyone...etc... Then the bird climbs down and starts eating my watchband. I pointed at her and said, "now dear you must not do that, she grabbed my finger in her beak but did not bite. It was a warning, I think. So I said, "okay go ahead and eat the watchband it's easily replaced. All her friends, mind you, are still crawling all over me.
They were the size of cockatoos. They were red with blue masks like "raccoons have mask on their faces" these birds too had blue feathered masks. The others were blue, like an ocean blue. Sweet, very sweet and I managed to get out.
Next time I wear a watch with a metal band or no watch at all. And I might leave the strawhat behind as well!
Posted 8/18/2008 10:18 PM (#9371 - in reply to #9271) Subject: RE: A little history of the Laughing Owl....
Sort of off the track of animals, but on track with protecting nature, here in Arizona which is home to the Saguaro cactus, it is a federal offense to cut one down or kill one! We are talking jail and fines. I love that...of course there is also something here called the idiot law..when someone drives into a flooded road and they have to call 911 to get rescued...they get banged on the head by the police officer, heavily fined...and called an idiot!
Posted 8/19/2008 12:09 PM (#9396 - in reply to #9271) Subject: RE: A little history of the Laughing Owl....
Definitely. And Free will is something I grapple with. Coincidentally ( if there is such thing ) yesterday I worked on my Channeling skills course-the meditations...where you finally meet your guide and are learning to commune with it, and Christine suggests asking this question of the guide: "Is there free will"? I channeled a very definite No, from her, my guide.
I guess I will leave it at that for now, as the experience was deep, beautiful and awesome.
Posted 8/21/2008 11:31 AM (#9517 - in reply to #9271) Subject: RE: A little history of the Laughing Owl....
Oh Rose! No metal watchbands either. I will have to show you pics of what my baby moluccan cockatoo did to an antique silver tea set! It was shredded to ribbons. His beak punctured the side of the sugar bowl like a can opener!
They are such sweet creatures and very perceptive. They are all like big winged puppies...with talons and bone-cracking/flesh-tearing beaks!
I am so happy that you had such a wonderful experience with all the parrots. I just love them and wish I could have them in my life again. But, alas, they are too much work for me. Wild creatures belong in wild spaces.
Posted 8/21/2008 11:47 AM (#9518 - in reply to #9271) Subject: RE: A little history of the Laughing Owl....
Location: United Kingdom
Lori sorry I hadn't noticed the free will post, and your Channelling experience.
I remember from somewhere a long time back reading about Renaissance views of Astrology, and one saying was, 'the stars impel, they do not compel'. I think my own intuition on this is that, we have some kind of freedom to choose our path, although there is a path for us to find, if we can allow ourselves to be guided to it; but choosing the darkness or the light, or any shades in between must, I feel, be a free choice ..
On the other hand if we need to live every lifetime and every role and every life choice, the free will issue becomes less significant, perhaps, as we all will arrive eventually, some faster than others.
Also I remind myself of Hamlet, 'there is a destiny that shapes our ends ... rough hew them how we may'.
And as for parrots and wild places, there were big notices up on Hampstead Heath not long ago, from a man whose parrot had flown away but which had been sighted on the Heath .... !